Former Governor of Ekiti State, Dr Kayode Fayemi, has cleared the air on his intention to contest the July 14 governorship election in the state, saying the pangs of poverty, frustrations and misery of Ekiti people, other than his personal ambition, have propelled him to want to return as governor.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftain, who is the Minister of Steel and Solid Minerals Development, said that as a law-abiding Nigerian, he would formally declare his ambition when the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) lifts ban on campaign ahead of the poll.
He spoke to journalists at his Isan Ekiti hometown after his quarterly meeting with APC leaders and delegates across the 16 council areas of the state where he harped on the need for APC to reclaim the Oke Bareke Government House through the governorship election.
Fayemi said: “Do you need a rocket scientist to tell you that I am running? I was very clear that l am a process person. I am not going to jump the gun because there are rules and guidelines for electioneering. The body responsible for that has stated the obvious when you can actually start the campaigns. The fact that people are flouting the guidelines is the fault of INEC that it is not taking them up on it. That is my own attitude to this.
“This is purely a party matter, it is not a public matter yet. So, I don’t really understand the level of curiosity that is being generated on whether I am running or not. I have been very clear that what we have in this state today is not what the state deserves. I have also been very clear that whatever it takes, constitutionally, legally and legitimately to put our party in office in October 2018, we will do as a party. As to whether I am running or not, yes I am running, that is not debatable. You would all know when and will all be invited when I finally decided to formally declare within the ambit of the guidelines issued by INEC,” he said.
The APC chieftain, who said he would defeat the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the election based on his record, said: “Politicians are adept at playing politics with the lives of citizens, I don’t play opportunistic politics. What I am going to run on is my record and if you can controvert that record, then, let us go to the market place.
“Did i not run free education up to secondary school three level? Did students under my administration not enjoy free JAMB, free payment for their WAEC? Did they not have laptop computers from JSS one to JSS three? Were all the schools in Ekiti State not fixed when I was governor?
“And if you go round, those that were unfortunate in the sense that they were not completed before we left are still like that. Go to the roads, you would see that where we stopped in the rural areas is where you would find them; The palaces, the town halls, hospitals and markets, the Pavilion, and civic centre where we left them, those that were not completed, that is where you would find them.
“And if you go and check, local governments in Ekiti are being owed between seven to nine months now. I never owed any single local government worker one Naira in my four years in office. The state government workers that I owed one month salary, I explained to them the context of that one month salary, because Ekiti receives its federal allocation in arrears. The money for that September came in October when I was leaving office and it was not not used to settle the salary of September. That is the only salary I owed.
“I have a record to defend, is it my social security benefit for the elderly, my empowerment programme, youths in commercial agriculture, the youth volunteer scheme, the traffic management, the peace corps, health workers and ambulance? Too numerous to refer to.
“I did not borrow to pay salaries. The projects are very well known, they are scattered all over the place. I borrowed N25 billion bond. As at the time I was leaving Ekiti, the state had paid N14.5 billion out of it. This is in the public record, not the propaganda that you get around here.
“I am prepared to defend my records and run on them. Frankly, why I am running has nothing to do with ambition. God has been kind to me. It has to do with the pangs of poverty still working the land, the frustrations in the lives of our people, the bitterness of workers who found themselves in an unfortunate place in which somebody who should be their custodian has trampled on them irresponsibly.
Earlier, Fayemi had cautioned the APC leaders against campaign of calumny, saying they should shun acts of discord and work towards a common goal to wrest power from the ruling PDP in the state.